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Lt. Brian Rice Found Not Guilty In Freddie Gray’s Death

Lt. Brian Rice Found Not Guilty In Freddie Gray’s Death

Lt. Brian Rice Found Not Guilty In Freddie Gray Death

Lt. Brian Rice Found Not Guilty In Freddie Gray Death

Baltimore police Lt. Brian Rice was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in connection with Freddie Gray‘s arrest and death. The ruling was made in a bench trial earlier today by Judge Barry Williams.

Rice was the highest-ranking police officer charged in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a broken neck in a police transport van on April 12, 2015. Rice was one of the three officers on bike patrol the morning Gray was arrested, and he was the officer who put Gray into the vehicle after he was shackled. According to the testimony of other officers Rice failed to fasten Gray’s seatbelt, resulting in the injuries that ultimately led to his death.

The final two defense witnesses in Rice’s trial were medical experts who both said it was clear Gray’s injuries happened all at once, and they happened while the van was on its way to the final stop. Dr. Matthew Ammerman, a neurosurgeon, concluded Gray’s neck injury occurred immediately before the van’s final stop. At the earlier van stops Gray was talking, and there were no signs of a broken neck.

The testimony was key to the defense’s theory that Gray didn’t need help at the van’s earlier stops, while the state argued Gray was injured earlier and he got progressively worse during the van ride, therefore needing immediate medical help.

Rice was one of the six officers charged with the arrest and death of Gray. Aside from Rice only three others have been on trial: Officers William Porter (whose trial resulted in a mistrial after the jury wasn’t able to reach a verdict), Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson. Both Nero and Goodson were acquitted on all charges related to Gray’s death by Williams as well.

In a report on the trial for CNN, legal analyst Danny Cevallos said that Williams’ verdict sent “a message to the public and to the courts and the prosecution that if you can’t convict beyond a reasonable doubt as to a high charge like murder, what does it say about lesser crimes?” and that’s absolutely correct.

The fact that Gray wasn’t properly secured in this police van when, several days prior to this incident, the Baltimore Police Department had just put such a policy into effect not only shows negligence on behalf of the officers involved with Gray’s death, but also shows how even when there’s undeniable proof that should’ve led to them receiving some sort of punishment, they didn’t. This is why so many people in America are skeptical of our justice system: that these officers weren’t held accountable for something they obviously did wrong is insulting and angering.

 

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